17 December 2006

Musings on Food and Relationships

Chinese New Year dinner @ Granny's. Pardon the blurriness.

I've found out why I'm always talking about food and why good food to me truly affects my perceived quality of life.

It's in my genes.

I should have long suspected it, seeing how my parents will drive for hours in the search of The Perfect Crab / Yong Tau Fu / Roast Duck when we were in Malaysia. They think nothing of driving two hours in the hot Malaysian sun and in the horrendous Malaysian jam to get to the divine Malaysian food. I remember many hours of my childhood spent at the backseat of the car in a long, long jam as the sun beat down on us mercilessly as we go to the regular joints, a mere 2 hours away. It was really something that we're used to as kids.

My parents enjoy a great marriage and have a pretty good relationship by any standards. Oh they bicker and quarrel and have their fair share of shouting matches, but I suppose this is part and parcel of married life. They've got plenty of lovey-dovey moments too, which is really something since they're both about 50 years old now. I suspect one contributing reason to their good marriage is this, as my dad shared: "I found a good eating partner in your mum!"

The way I see it, being able to enjoy good food together is a great ingredient for a good marriage (notice all the food-metaphors!). Meals together are a great bonding time. Going out-of-the-way to get to the good food allows for: 1. quality time spent together travelling. 2. a common goal to work towards together, therefore creating oppurtunities for teamwork and interaction. Working together helps you to understand each other better and to adjust to one another's habits and quirks. 3. enjoying something together!

The fact that I came from a family of foodies was driven home even more on two separate instances. One was when I was having my usual breakfast with dad (see, meals are a great bonding oppurtunity!) and he was lamenting, "I'm not hungry, and I'm getting fat lah. I shouldn't eat so much (refering to his favourite fishball noodles)" to which I heartily agreed, since his waistline was expanding. The next thing I knew, he ordered that bowl of his favourite fishball noodles and said "What to do, you come from a family of gluttons..."

The other instance was today, when Intuition and I joined my mum for dinner. Intuition has always complained that I eat as much as he does, which is highly unbecoming for a girl. Today, my mum's appetite put us both to shame. We ordered a bowl of mee-sua each and shared a plate of hokkien-prawn noodles and chicken wings. After we ate, Intuition and I were stuffed, while my mum continued ogling at the other food available at the hawker centre and said "Let's order a plate of carrot cake! Ooooh that fish looks good. How about ordering a fish to share? What else shall we eat... I feel like I've not really eaten anything. Are you both full yet??" It dawned on Intuition that my appetite is small potatoes compared to my point of origin.

For the rest of the evening, all we talked about were where to find the best hokkien mee, where is the best chwee kueh, which stalls are over-rated and how food-court food sucks.

It was truly a humbling experience. Sigh, I'm not worthy of the term "foodie" =( There is much room for improvement!


bingren said...

Appreciating good food is a good start for becoming a good cook. :)

I agree with you about family bonding at meal times. I miss having dinner with my family seated at the same table. Now we have the bad habit of bringing out food on our own plate and eat in front of TV.

Anonymous said...

can i go over for family dinners? esp when ur grandma cooks? please??


Quirkz said...

to bingren:
Thanks, i aspire towards being a good cook ; ) U can test it on 20 Jan.. hahaha!
Yeah my family's relationships became stronger after dinners together became a regular thing. My dad said that it takes a lot of effort to make the time to buy the ingredients and cook it, but it's a good time to sit down together and unwind. I hope to continue the tradition next time =) You can do the same next time too! ;)

To Mer:
My brother's still single... if you marry him, you can come over for family dinner when my grandma cooks! ;) and she is a greatly revered cook in a family of picky eaters. that says a lot!! my grandma's the best ^-^

mer said...

and make it legallly-binding for me to address u as Da Sao - NEVA!!

weekee said...

hehee i never know that you can eat so much! :)